41. Net-zero evolution: From the Star Trek Enterprise to utter simplicity

Tags: Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy

Published May 2, 2013

Blog: Net-zero homes: Evolution or revolution

The highly entertaining documentary “How William Shatner Changed the World” is a must-watch for any Trekkie or technology geek. In it, William Shatner hosts and narrates two hours of exploring the real-life advancements that were inspired by Star Trek.

In case after case Shatner explores the rapid pace of technological development. Things like the cell phone or communicator that were mere fantasy in the ‘60s became reality only a few short decades later.

When it comes to net-zero homes it too is an idea that seems more science fiction than anything, especially in the cold climes of Edmonton, Alberta. A home that produces as much energy as it consumes - well that’s just crazy.

It took a group of 45 people more than two years to build the first net-zero home in Edmonton. Simon Knight is the CEO of C3, a social enterprise that works on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Alberta and was there.

“The first prototype we built in Edmonton, when you went into the mechanical room it was similar to walking on the Starship Enterprise – it was very complex,” says Simon Knight who now is a director with the Net-Zero Energy Home Coalition.

Built back in 2007 the Riverdale net-zero home was a 5,000 square foot duplex. It also had a complex space heating system that depended on an over-built solar thermal set-up with a lot of extra engineering bells and whistles. More…

Podcast: Net-zero homes: How Alberta became a hot spot for homes that produce as much energy as they consume

CKUA logo

Peter Amerongen has a a bit of experience when it comes to net-zero homes - he's built three of them. And in that process he's come to learn a thing or two about the process of building a home that produces as much energy as it consumes. The main lesson he's learned is the act of making his homes simpler. We head to his third home to discover how this super-insulated, airtight home out performs its net-zero competition. 


These resources relate to this episode. They may be helpful in many ways, but we list them only for your information. This is not an endorsement of any of these programs, services or organizations and we make no guarantees about the products or services these companies or organizations may offer.

The Challenges of Designing and Building a Net Zero Energy Home in a Cold High--Latitude Climate

Engineer Gordon Howell's presentation on the challenges and process required to build a net-zero home in Canada GO >

Tags: Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar

Project Profile: Riverdale NetZero Project

This Project Profile highlights Riverdale NetZero, one of the winning entries in the Canada Mortgage and
Housing Corporation (CMHC) EQuilibriumTM Sustainable Housing Demonstration Initiative - a national
initiative to design, build and demonstrate sustainable homes throughout Canada. GO >

Tags: Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar


Riverdale net-zero house project profile - PDF

Riverdale net-zero house webpage

Bob Heath's net-zero home in Home Power magazine

Net-zero home energy coalition homepage

The net-zero energy definitions project - NZEH Coalition

A blog detailing the construction of of the Millcreek net-zero home, another Amerongen project - Green Edmonton